Heritage Malta recently issued Heritage cards to all school children in Malta which allows them plus two adults, free access into most of the Heritage sites in the country. Kids receive a ‘passport’ which they get stamped everytime they visit a site and there’s a reward after so many stamps.
So it seems we have no excuse but to get on and visit the many heritage sites in Malta. Some I have seen already but this was the first trip for a long time as a family to experience some ‘culture’. I decided to keep it simple and visit temples that were a) close by and b) quick to get around. The Tarxien Temples (pronounced Tar – shin).
Set in the middle of a residential area it’s very strange to see this huge megalithic structure standing amongst the houses. The first challenge was to find the entrance. We could see the temples but zero signage as you walk around the perimeter. Eventually, once we’d walked pretty much around the entire thing we found it. Improved signage please heritage Malta!
As the temples are about 5000 years old (yep – some of the oldest in the world) they are kept undercover to better preserve them from the elements. The temples date back to between 3600 and 2500BC and probably only the lower parts of the wall have survived. It’s not known exactly what the temples were used for but probably some kind of social, religious, communal centre. They were discovered by a farmer in 1913 and the excavation of this site has gone on for many years.
It’s quite a good trip to do with kids. It’s fun to walk around and you can’t fail to be a bit impressed by the huge stones and wonder how the hell they managed to move them and create such smooth circular shapes. You can also see carvings on the stones – prehistoric art of animals and human figures.
There weren’t many tourists at all on the day we visited in January and it was a lovely warm morning. There’s a peacefulness as you walk around the structure which is very calming. The kids were most interested in taking photos, so that kept them busy and the whole visit took under half an hour.
An easy start to our Maltese Heritage trail. I did suggest going on to see a Fort but the enthusiasm for culture was waning. Best to quit whilst ahead.